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When Should I Hire a Virtual Assistant?

So you can focus on what you love about your online business!

by Tracie in Building a Team, General
When to Hire a Virtual Assistant

This post is the first in a weekly four-part series on hiring and working with Virtual Assistants.

Deciding to hire a virtual assistant isn’t easy. In fact, deciding to hire help at all when you’re an entrepreneur is tough.

As entrepreneurs we have a crazy thing we do that makes it darn near impossible to admit we need help. We tell ourselves we should be able to do it all.

Leaving Your J.O.B. to Live Your Dream

But let’s think about this for a minute. Let’s go back to the life where you work a 9-5  J.O.B. That thing you have to do to pay the bills even though you don’t like it.

So you’re back at that 9-5 job, and you are swamped. The boss has given you enough work for 2-3 people and you’re sick and tired of doing all of the extra work. You’ve explained to the boss you need help, he tells you he’s working on it, but there’s nothing that can be done about it right now. You are so swamped with day to day tasks, you can’t be creative, you can’t do the work that you used to love because you’re too busy doing other people’s “stuff.”

There must be a better way! You have skills and talents to offer. You’re sick of the daily grind! You leave the 9-5 job to go out on your own. And it’s terrific at first!

Your commute consists of walking to the coffee pot a few times a day, or maybe to the fridge to make yourself a healthy lunch exactly the way you like it. 

You’re there in the evenings to get your kids off the bus and play catch in the yard after dinner.

You’re working out every day and feel better than you’ve felt your entire life.

You can breathe easy knowing there’s nobody breathing down your neck waiting for you to finish the next project.

Turning Your Dream Back Into a J.O.B.

And that’s how it stays for the first few months. But then you’ve got the groundwork set up for your business and it is time to start bringing more money. You’ve reached the end of the cushion you set aside for yourself and the pressure is on to produce. 

You move the coffee pot to your office so you don’t have to walk all the way to the kitchen to stay alert and fueled up.

Lunch is a long-forgotten meal discarded as an unnecessary interruption to your work day.

You’re pretty sure you still have kids, but you haven’t seen them in a while because you’re now working twice as many hours each day as you did at your old J.O.B.

Somehow 5 pounds have found their way to your mid-section, could it be the “no time to eat, I’ll just grab whatever’s close” eating habits you’ve picked up?

The threat of unpaid bills and invoices keeps you in a constant state of stress.

As crazy as it sounds, this is the life most entrepreneurs are living. So let’s turn it around, shall we?

It’s Time to Hire a Virtual Assistant

If you recognize yourself in any of the above tasks, the fact that it’s time to hire a VA should be as plain as the nose on your face (such an interesting expression). But just in case you need a more task oriented list, here’s another.

You know it’s time to hire a Virtual Assistant if: 

  • You are behind on tasks most of the time
  • The thing you do best is the thing you work on the least
  • You don’t communicate regularly with your list
  • You work 10+ hours a day
  • At least one of the tasks you do each day can be explained in a step-by-step list
  • There’s something you keep putting off that has to be done
  • You are burned out

As an online business owner and former Virtual Assistant myself, I talk to a LOT of entrepreneurs. If they’ve been working in their business for more than a few months, they’ve reached the point where they need help, they just don’t realize it yet. You are no different. 

As entrepreneurs we sell ourselves short by thinking we can do everything ourselves. It’s quite arrogant if you think about it. Why on earth should we think we can be good at everything? Is it because we really believe we are really the best person to do every task in our own business? Seriously? How can you possibly be the best person to post to your social media accounts when you just learned how to do it six months ago? Sure, you need to write the content, but you certainly don’t need to do the posting. Think that it’s just as fast to do it yourself? Think about what els.e you could be doing instead.

Ready to Hire a Virtual Assistant? Here’s Where to Start

For the next 5 business days, write down the tasks you do each day. At the end of the five days, circle those that only you can do. Things like: create your content, write your blog posts, appear in your videos. The rest of the things on the list can be handed off to your VA. Next week I’ll explain where you’re going to find her.

What do you think? As entrepreneurs, do we try to do too much ourselves? Comment below!

Read the next post in the series: How to Hire a VA Who Treats Your Business As Her Own


  1. Kami McBride says:

    You’ve nailed it here. Handing over tasks is a little scary, but at the end of the day, there is just to much to do!

    1. Tracie says:

      Exactly right, Kami! And the thing to remember is that while you’re doing unnecessary tasks yourself rather than handing them off, you’re actually costing yourself money because you can’t be working in your genius zone and bringing in more clients/buyers.

  2. Kevin says:

    I am definitely concerned about this more from the front end. I’ve heard it called the curse of knowledge. There are courses that I am interested in but it seems that there are skill sets that I need to have in order to set up my online business. The ground work so to speak. I know how to take direction but when doing these tasks there always seems to be some hiccups that take forever to resolve.
    I’m chomping at the bit to get out my services but as you mention the tasks can take a lot of time from researching and preparing the content which is tantamount to me.
    Also, how can I trust that a virtual assistant won’t sabotage my efforts for their own nefarious purposes? How can I find a reputable, committed VA?
    Eventually I’ll take the plunge as I don’t want to get hung up waiting for the perfect set up.
    You seem to have hit upon a major stumbling block in my online service.
    Thank you very much,

    1. Tracie says:

      Kevin, I understand exactly where you’re at. Bringing a VA on early in the process makes it easier for you her to learn your business as you grow. One of the biggest problems business owners have is that by the time they realize how badly they need help, they don’t have the time to train someone. When hiring a VA, I recommend using reputable services like Upwork, or Fiverr for VAs you want to train yourself, or for VAs that are highly skilled professionals. Keep in mind, highly skilled professional VAs will charge upwards of $40/hour. Make sure you can check reviews or testimonials and have a third party involved in case you have issues. I wouldn’t be nearly as worried about a VA with nefarious purposes as I would one that said she knew how to do something that she didn’t. If you check on references and use a service, there is really no reason for a VA to want to “steal” your business. She is also a professional and has her own genius zone, she probably would hate trying to do the work of your genius zone as much as you hate trying to do the work of hers.

      I’ll be covering more topics regarding VAs and how to hire them, work with them successfully and train them to do your launches in the upcoming weeks. Stay tuned!

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